This Museum Really WOWed Me

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Before I was WOWed

“If you don’t do anything else in Nelson, promise me you’ll go to the WOW Museum,” suggested the friendly middle-aged walker we met while cycling along Ruby Bay.

She had just finished taking a picture of Eric and me (a good one I might add) and we were busy exchanging condensed 15 minute versions of our life stories. She’s caravanned across the US, found distant relatives in Canada, recently bought a larger mobil home, cycles to be with her husband….

So when she gave us her tourist tip, I knew I would steer Eric to the World of Wearable Art if it took the bribe of an extra espresso to do it. Luckily, the creators of WOW were smart and attached a Collectable Car Museum to the same building.

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This dress is made entirely of balloons. I love it!

After Eric breezed past the first two AMAZING creations, a delightful evening gown made entirely of small, un-inflated balloons, and a gauzy-looking cocktail dress made of fine grade wire while I was still lingering over their construction and creativity, I politely suggested we part ways and meet in the cafe’ (pronounced “calf”) in an hour. He could head to the cars and I could languish in the beauty and style.

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It’s hard to believe this dress is made of bamboo and wire

Here’s some background on this very creative museum: Over twenty years ago the city of Nelson played host to the World of Wearable Art Fashion Show. This event draws participants from around the world – men who make dresses entirely out of wood, costume designers for theater, artists, etc. The event has become so huge and well-attended that it’s been moved to the city of Wellington on the North Island. But, this relatively new museum has been built in Nelson to showcase creations from the past as well as present winners from this year’s fashion show.

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These wearable art pieces had to glow in the dark. I fit right in.

The “art” is displayed on mannequins but was originally worn by runway models and dancers. After seeing the clothes on display, I was then entranced by the video of actual fashion shows modeling these pieces of art. The music and choreography that accompanied the show made it an extravaganza similar to watching Cirque de Solei or Cher perform in Las Vegas changing into costumes made of zip ties, parachute material, plastic bags, old suitcases, wire and string.

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A quilt knitted with electrical wire. 

There was one down side to the museum for me. With the creativity, the fantastic sound track and the original choreography to the dance, I felt a longing (homesickness maybe?) for being creative besides cooking in backpacking pots, playing or listening to music beside song birds chirping in the forest, and dancing to the music with my friend on a warm summer night after a bottle of wine.

“Thank you, New Zealand woman on the bike path, for the great suggestion! Wow, what a museum!”